consumers


I know, I haven’t done this for a while. It’s a combination of China and cocktails. Too long visiting one and too long just holding on to the other one. Hum, actually that goes for both of them… But let’s give it a shot.

1. Please sir, may I have some more?

Oh now we know we are in a recession baby. The land of true whiners, (Not-So) Great Britian, are feeling the pinch. And they are taking it out on the kids! Oh deary, deary me. You see, like all financial institutions, The Bank of Mom and Dad has been hit by the credit crunch. And they are just not that much into giving at the moment. Not enough cash to go around. So what did they do? Cut down on the pocket money. Those poor English roses just can’t buy the nice strawberry and cream at Wimbledon anymore. Shame poor little darlings. I don’t think I will spill too many tears on this one. It’s more like the yobs can’t afford the Burberry clothes anymore. Or the beers they drink in the park. Or, the latest craze, knives, anymore. Nah. Don’t feel too sorry for them. Britain has changed into a nanny state many years ago and I am sure the government will find a new way to pamper their little yobs darlings. There is no Great Britain anymore. The only “G” that goes with Britain is “Good god” Britain. And remember to role your eyes when you say it.

2. The law is going to the dogs

This woman called Leona Helmsley let her fortune go to the dogs. You know, she left about $8 billion to look after the poor mutts of this world. Stupid? Of course. Silly? Without a doubt. But now some wise ass Boston College professor claims that “we” are giving almost half of that money and not her. Why? Because the donation is not taxed and therefore indirectly comes from tax money – my money and your money. Really. It’s a stupid argument to make. Yes, there are better ways to spend the almost $4 billion that comes from “us”. But he makes one hell of an assumption to think that government will spend it on anything useful. I would rather let Skippy eat steak every night thanks to Crazy Auntie Leona than spend one single dollar more on a stupid war. Leona might be crazy (and she was as ugly as hell with that all that cosmetic surgery), but not as crazy as some of those people in DC. I have one specific guy in mind… And I really don’t want to give him anything more to play with.

3. A country of Wieners

So Gramm made a bit of a “misspoke”. Calling Americans a country of whiners. I would shut up if I was Gramm. His surname is way to silly to take seriously. I mean really, it sounds very similar to what we will call lightweight in the metric system… Anyway. I actually almost agree with him. But I think he got the wording wrong. It’s not “whiner” it’s “wieners”. For two reasons. Firstly, you guys really like hotdogs. And with baseball season in full swing it makes sense with the wiener sausages and all. But, more seriously, we also use the term “wiener” back home to talk about someone who gets scared easily. Or who falls for some weird scary story. Like in “Donner dude, you are such a wiener. That’s not a shark, it’s a dude with his wienersticking out.” (This is another meaning of wiener – meaning… hum… go check Wikipedia.) I mean really. Scared of Iran? You can’t rule through fear. Because you will end up fighting everyone and hating everyone and not trusting anyone. Get a grip people. You (we) need a new leader with some real leadership. Stop being a such wieners.

4. I don’t give a flying…

Airlines are being hit pretty hard by the high oil prices. So hard that they are now asking people to lobby government on their behalf. Hum. I don’t think so. You start NOT charging me $15 per bag. Or maybe you can start arriving on time – or leaving on time for that matter. And maybe you can serve me crap food instead of no food on these long haul flights. And a drink while I am stuck on the tarmac for a few hours after another “delay”. And just maybe you start upgrading your plane to a post-Nixon grade planes. Or include something more entertaining than barfbags to keep me entertained. And a little more legroom than than a Grade A classroom. And I haven’t even started with you yet American Airlines… You want to know why you can’t compete? Because you are incompetent and know nothing about customer service. We’ll pay more if you pay more attention. Go ask why some of the other airlines like BA, Virgin, Comair (in South Africa), China Air, Air Cameroon and many others can all look after us and still turn a profit. Come back when you have an answer. I won’t hold my breath. But you did give me an idea. Maybe I should start lobbying government to open up the air to some foreign competition. Yes, people might bitch for the loss of “sovereignty” but they’ll very quickly forget once they sit in comfy chairs and bite into a nice juicy BA sandwich. One they didn’t have to pay $5 dollars for.

5. The world got neutered… by President Bush

Sometimes the world is willing to show a bit of guts (or show they have balls) and take on a leader who is truly evil and (possibly) guilty of turning on his own people. Sudan in this case. President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan might just be charged with war crimes committed in Darfur. Makes sense doesn’t it? We know what has been going on over there. Murder, rape and mayhem. And that was on a good day. So the world decided to take a stand. And charge the guy. Of course the guy will say “I am not guilty”. That’s what the court is there for, right? In this case the International Criminal Court. But we won’t see this guy being taken to court – all thanks to President Bush. WTF? You heard me right. Blame President Bush for the ICC not having the teeth to take this guy on. Why? Because the guy is using the same argument President Bush used against the ICC. They both claim that the ICC have no jurisdictionover anything. They don’t recognize the ICC. This was the only court that could tackle Serbian war criminals. But President Bush wants special treatment for US citizens. He argues that everyone should be equal in the eyes of the law – but some are more equal than others. He doesn’t want Americans to be held accountable to this court even if they have committeda crime against humanity or genocide for that matter. Yes, everyone else should be covered by the ICC. Just not Americans. Do you truly believe Americans should have a higher right in this world? Should Americans be above the law? I don’t think we will ever see the day an American will be charged at the ICC. It’s aimed at warmongers and despots. but we have to make sure everyone is covered by the same law. Shouldn’t we? Your argument is like me saying that me and my family should be immune from being charged for theft as we will never do anything like that. Is that okay with you? I promise not to steal… Come on Bush – you are either for us or against us… The Darfur blood is on your hands. What options did you leave us with? Invading as a first option? I guess you don’t like it when people first try to take the legal route? It’s easier to go in with guns blazing isn’t it? You set the precedent. Invade Sudan – even the rest of the world think he is evil and worse than Sadam used to be. Be proud – you and the President of Sudan have something in common… I hope you are proud of your legacy.

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That’s it folks. Have a splendid weekend! Hope that sounded English enough. I am especially sour with them at the moment because they are beating us in cricket. Unheard of, I know…

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I am getting a bit sick and tired of hearing about bottled water. You know, the “big issue” of how bad bottled water is. Worse than cigarettes. And alcohol. And drugs. And anything else you can think of. The new evil. It makes you want to go and hug Exxon. Really. Come on. It’s bloody bottled water people.

Almost every mayor of across the US is telling their constituents how bad it is. That it litters the city. That it is just sooo bad. That you should drink from the tap. Hum. Well now. Why don’t you first stop the killing in the cities before you start bitching about the litter. Why don’t you start recylding plastic instead recyling old crappy politics? Get your house in order before you start bitching about a bloody plastic bottle. Really. If a plastic bottle is the worse of your worries…

And these “activists” go on and on about the water scarcity. Hum. Duh. You grow industry and populations and the water levels drop. Not difficult math you know. You know how much bottled water takes out of the ground? Around 0.002%. Doesn’t seem logical to me to start there if you are concerned about water scarcity. Maybe you should start with where the big water “eaters” are. And where do you think this is? Farming. Yes, farming. Up to 80% of water goes into farming. Yes, they need to use the water to produce the crops. But they are also some of the most inefficient users. Just spraying it all over the place. And don’t think of the farmer in the movies. No! Most farming is done by large commercial farms owned by large multinationals. They don’t give a damn about the water. Or the land. or the people. Just about the profits.

Oh yes. They tell me all about the leaching of the plastic bottle. And that I should drink tap. You know what is in that tap? Iron levels too high. Lead in the pipes. Pharmaceutical waste. Chlorine to kill the bugs. Etc. Etc. etc. Damned if I don’t and damned if I do. By the way – stupid. I drink the bottle when I am on the road. Not while at home. You gonna bring me a personal tap with when I travel? And want a refill? Don’t give me the fountain crap. You know where that mouth has been that just drank from it? Huhu. Don’t think so baby.

It’s just stupid. This bottled water attack. Does it make sense? Most likely if you want to save money. But don’t think it will make you save the earth because plastic bottles just don’t have enough of an impact. Less than 0.05% of the waste in landfills.

But it’s easy. An easy target. Easy to go after the bottle of water. Because you hold it in your hand and make an easy connection. So you drop the bottle of water and reach for a… Coke. And up goes obesity levels. Stupid campaign. Stupid idea. Campaigning in the MTV era… Just grab any campaign and let’s see who will fall for it. I think the bottled water campaign is like the Backstreet Boys – empty, little substance, no real impact, but easy to sell because it looks good. “As long as you love me”. Bah!

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Here we go again…

1. The world growing bigger?

The only problem is that not everything else is expanding with it. I know it is disturbing. But don’t worry. We are. Humans. And other planets. And animals. At least until we slaughter them and turn them into burgers and steaks. Even our measurements are expanding. And no, I don’t mean our waistlines. Okay. Not only our waistlines. Also our waste-lines. No idea what that means, but it sounded good when I wrote it. Anyway… I thought the world must be growing while our food and drinks stay the same size. Why? Because everything is getting smaller. Bought a salad the other day and realized that it is smaller than what I remembered from the last time I bought a salad. But then I had a closer look. Damnit. Can you believe it. Even salads are being reduced in size. No – not because of obesity. Rather because of profits. With “raw” materials and overheads going up they had to cut cost somewhere. Why not start with the portions they sell? No problem. Right? Well, I don’t have a problem with it. But it would have been nice of them to tell me. I felt a bit cheated. Dirty. And looking at the smaller packet made me feel all grown up and bigger than what I feel really comfortable with. I felt a bit like Alice for a minute. But, as you might know, I am not a big salad eater. So it didn’t faze me. But I lost it when I realized that they are doing it to beer! Bloody hell people! That’s a line you should never, ever cross. Do what you want with us, but leave our beer alone. You thought President Bush got all pissed at Iraq trying to kill his daddy. Don’t mess with an African and his beer. But they did. Selling us 14 ounce beers but passing it off as a 16 ounce beer! Sacrilege! But the trend continues. Cars are getting smaller. Which is a good thing. My ego can fit into a Mini. But those guys with the big trucks and girls with the big SUV’s. Not sure if their ego can fit into a Ford Focus. I mean really, they only just manage to squeeze into a Hummer. Yeah. The world is shrinking. No, you aren’t getting fat. It’s the clothes shrinking… We’ll all look like Lance Armstrong soon. Tights everywhere. Okay, maybe with two… hum… you know. Oh, I was lying about the salad. It is shrinking, but I am African. We don’t do salad. A good salad is anything not meaty – like chicken.

2. Getting ready to be arrested

I am off to China this weekend. But I’ll tell you about that later. Once I am back. Still waiting for my visa, but hopefully that will be sorted today. There is a reason why I use the name Angry African you know… Anyway. I have been talking to my IT guy about staying connected while I am over there. Apparently it won’t be a good idea to blog from there. Not only do they sometimes “relieve” you of the burden carrying your laptop around, but don’t like bloggers speaking out that much. Not much at all. You see, China, Burma, Iran and Egypt heads the list of countries arresting people because they blog about their political views. I am safe then I guess. I don’t do political views… What I write is nothing but an impartial view of the world and what is happening around us. So I should be safe. But many bloggers are not. 334 got arrested in Burma alone. But thanks to their “somewhat” restrictive government, these could not be verified. When you drop of the face of the earth… 

3. No workers, no problem

Biofuels are held up as either the answer to all our problems or the next disaster to hit us. I don’t have much of a view on this one. I think biofuels could be part of the solution (not the solution), but the current approach sucks. Using corn and sugar just don’t make sense. it pushes food prices right up and we cut down forests meant to protect us from emissions. Sounds like stupid economics to me. And Brazil has a huge problem. They are cutting down the Amazon rainforest faster than you can say “Hummer”. I mean really. 1,123 square kilometers were cut down in April alone… So Unica, the Brazilian ethanol lobby decided to go on the charm offensive. They invited a few journalist around to show them all the good stuff they are doing. Apart from the cutting down of trees that they forgot to mention, most of their ideas are just fine. Like going all mechanical in the cutting of the cane. Less pollution because they don’t have to burn them anymore. But there was something else that caught my eye. The reporter only mentions it as a “by the way”. But it struck me that Unico might still need some more PR training. Unico said that companies are going all mechanical on us because it addresses two challenges. One, the pollution. Check. Secondly, it will get rid of the cane-cutters and therefore also get rid of any labor problems and labor critics. Hum. Maybe you shouldn’t have mentioned that one. Keep spinning the “we chop down trees to be green” line. It’s not only more believable, it also makes the “little people” go away.

4. The two stooges

Tweedledum and Tweedledee are meeting as we speak. I mean Mbeki and Mugabe are meeting. In Zimbabwe. Not sure why. Maybe to discuss the weather. Or the latest fashion. Or what curtains to pick for their new houses. Or fining new and more spouses. Bloody idiots. Look. I have supported Mbeki through thick and thin. Defended him wherever I could. I even defended his initial position on HIV/Aids in South Africa. And justified his initial approach to the Zimbabwean crisis. But it has gone too far. People are dying in South Africa because of his idiotic HIV/Aids policies and lack of action. And people are dying in Zimbabwe because of a tyrant that has gone bonkers. Mbeki and his “quiet diplomacy” just sounds like “staying quiet”. Sorry you two idiots. Time’s up. You are not welcome anymore. Just take your stuff and go sit in the corner. And be quiet. We have a name for people like you. It starts with an “m”. “Moer-something” in Afrikaans and “Mother-something” in English. Just go. Don’t hang your curtains. Hang your heads in shame. Or just hang your heads.

5. McCain inspiring old white men in Europe

I don’t think so. Okay, maybe he does if you include the arms dealers. But other than that, McCain inspires people outside the US about as much as Osama Bin Laden inspires tolerance. yes, there might be one or two out there who would fall for them. But they are loonies and at the fringe. But Obama. Now that is another story. He isn’t even President (yet) and he is already inspiring people across the world. telling them to break out of their racial stereotype and that anything is possible. That you can do it – no matter where you come from. France is going through some tough times right now. Race is at the forefront of so many debates. And they have violence on the streets of Paris. Because people feel hopeless. That in the land of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. Well educated blacks have to compete with 15-year old white kids for a job at McDonald’s. Nothing wrong with working at McDonald’s. But when the color of your skin stoops you from aiming higher, then you have a problem. But all of a sudden Obama is making people talk about race in France. And what it means. And how it can be overcome. And how it can inspire people to continue to fight the good fight for equality. Real equality. Not just a French word. That is inspiring. That is Obama. McSame? Well, apparently the old people in France likes his comb-over. It is so provincial.

See ya later.

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Here we go again…

1. The Long and Winding Road

Well, it’s not only the scientists who are all getting hot under collar with the global warming thing. It seems as our beloved veggie, Paul McCartney, decided to go all green as well. I guess green makes sense after losgina few to the one-legged wonder heathen Heather Mills. She took a few green ones off him. Okay, I am not a huge McCartney (or Beatles) fan. Especially not Sir Paul. Anyone trying to force tofu and soya down my throat better run fast. But this time he got the pale people vegetarians greenies all worked up for all the wrong reasons. He bought a hybrid. Okay, not actually bought one – got it for free from Lexus. They are not pissed because he got it for free. Nah, it is interesting that those who have will get more, but that’s not the reason. No. Sir Pale Paul got his hybrid flown in all the way from Japan… A bit of an environmental footprint hey? The equivalent of driving it 300 times around the earth. I’m not bugged, I say just Let It Be.

2. Libya liberated

It is official. Libya is back on the good side of life. Yes, the country called Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, but known to close friends as just plain old Libya, is now officially the place to be. Okay, not really official, but still – the signs are there that it is the in place right now. No Gaddafi didn’t hand out oil for free or open a Arab Disney. Actually, I don’t know why they are the place to be. I just know they are. Just the other day they caught 240 illegal immigrants hanging around the beaches at Tripoli. Must be the weather. Can’t be that they were trying to get into Italy by any chance. I mean really. Italy? Why the hell would you want to do something like that? You know how I feel about Italy

3. Flip-flop, here we go… again

Question to Presidential candidate: “Do you think that American diplomats should be operating the way they have in the past, working with the Palestinian government if Hamas is now in charge?”

Presidential candidate answered: “They’re the government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them, one way or another, and I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice, so . . . but it’s a new reality in the Middle East. I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and decent future, that they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that.”

So McCane would be all over your… hum… backside it you said that right? I mean come on. Obama shouldn’t be saying things like that. Talking to extreme governments. It should just not be done by an American President. What? Obama didn’t say that? Oh… McLame said that… Just 2 years ago. Maybe it is his age catching up. I can understand that. He can’t even remember where he put his teeth last night. Or his comb-over hair. Sad thing is. People will swallow this and vote for the man. I think it is Kool-Aid. Or could be stupidity.

4. Monster sue Monster sue Monster sue Monster…

So you are just playing a nice game of mini-golf and when you think to yourself. I should really get cable from these guys. It must be the blue lights getting you all confused and the putter feels a bit like a remote control. Now, you must be pretty stupid to confuse mini-golf with cable right? No – I don’t mean watching Caddyshack on the box. I mean thinking that a mini-golf outfit will sell you cable on the side. Stupidity knows no end. Monster Cable is suing Monster Mini Golf because of copyright infringement. WTF? My question exactly. But it’s okay. They’ve also sued Discovery over their Monster Garage series. And Monster.com. And Disney for Monster Inc. And the Red Sox for Monster Seats on the… Green Monster. I guess they are hoping for a Monster payout. Keep dreaming guys. Acting like Monsters, sorry little “m” – monsters, won’t get you much sympathy. I’ll sue if you dare register Angry Monster on the Loose. Monster! Monster! Monster! monsters. Now, let’s sit back and wait to get sued.

5. Stopping poverty at the door

I think this Samuelson dude (sorry, Robert J. Samuelson) needs to get back to university. Start reading Logic 101 instead of The Economist. I think he might be conservative. Hear him out. “Finally, let’s discuss poverty. Everyone is against it, but hardly anyone admits that most of the increase in the past 15 years reflects immigration — new immigrants or children of recent immigrants. Unless we stop poor people from coming across our Southern border, legally and illegally, we won’t reduce poverty.” Hum… Dude. I apologize. That is way logic. You will reduce poverty by letting less poor people in. Hum… Dude. I really don’t know what to say. Maybe you should become Mac’s economic adviser. Your sense of economics makes about as much sense as his views on war, torture, foreign policy, Hamas flip-flop, Sonny & Cher, (sorry, Sunni & Shiite), gas prices and his comb-over. Here’s another few pieces of logic Mr Smartypants – stop the killing by stopping the war or stop the dying by giving people health-care or stop the bigotry by giving people equal rights or stop the pain by stopping the torture or stop global warming by stopping the oil. Puh-lease. As if you have the balls or logic to do that.

That’s it folks. See ya later. And have a great, great weekend.

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Hey, April is almost over. But the madness not. Let’s look at the weak as it happened.

1. Dude, I just smoked the house

Those bloody Aussies. They are taking us all for a ride. No wait. More like a riiiideeee, dude. And sometimes just taking the piss. But good for them. See, they are always trying to find new ways to pull a fast one – those damn Aussies. Give them half a chance… And now they are using the “green” debate out there to create new “eco-friendly” ways of living their lives. I always knew they were a bunch of pot smoking Irish convicts entrepreneurs. But the latest one take the cake. Or should I say “brownie” (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). The Aussies are now claiming that they are building “green” houses by using hemp. Yep. That’s pretty green hey. I think it is because they first have to dry out the leaves. What better way than build a house of dope leaves and leave it to the Australian sun to dry it out nicely. And when it is nice and dry? “Sorry officer, I have no idea how the fire started. The house just went off in flames…” Dude. What a plan, maaan. That’s dope man. And I mean it. But they didn’t stop there. The other question they faced? What to do with all that… hum… pee that comes from drinking too much XXXX. Just recycle it brother. Yes. Recycled water. I guess they can use that when they burn the house. Or burn the house when they drink the water. I would. Just to get the taste out my mouth. I think the Aussies are taking the piss.

2. Just bomb Global Warming

Okay, we are now officially… hum… you know… stuffed. Global Warming is going to wipe us out. Or maybe not. It seems as if we might now have two ways to die as Global Warming creeps up as bites us in the more delicate places. We can either fry in the heat or be bombed to smithereens. At least we have a choice now. All thanks to the Royal United Services Institute. And no, that isn’t some think-tank about Prince Charles and his bevy of servants – it’s the “leading forum in the UK for national and international Defence and Security”. Founded in 1831 by the Duke of Wellington, RUSI is the oldest institute of its kind in the world. Yes, the same guy who gave us those nice rubber boots to walk with in British crap rainy weather also gave us a think-tank to come up with new ways of justifying war. Thanks Duke. Anyway, the RUSI says that Global Warming will get so bad that we will go into wars that will last for centuries and will be worse than the previous two World Wars. So I guess we need more military funding then hey? Nice one – not even Dick could think of a better way to keep Halliburton in the black for a hundred years or more. I do see a little flaw in their argument though. If Global Warming will fry us all – how come we can still be alive to fight wars for a few hundred years? Hum… that’s the thinking part. You concentrated a little bit too much on the tank part buddy. DO YOU HEAR ME SOLDIER! OOH-RAH! (Sorry Marines.) Never mind, at least I will have those Wellington boots when the sea levels start rising.

3. ZZ Top

Yes, it is the battle of the Z’s. Zambia against Zimbabwe. And I am cheering for Zambia. I love Zambia. The most peaceful nation on earth. Never been in a war – internal or external. And you have to know Zambians to know why. The nicest people on earth. And they didn’t even have to build those Aussie “green” houses to be laid back. Okay, also one of the poorest nations on earth. But that didn’t stop them from standing up to the tyrant of the South – Mad Bob Mugabe. You see, China is trying to deliver some weapons to Zimbabwe. Yes, war and instability pays – just Halli and Burton. Back to the South. First the trade unions in South Africa refused to unload the weapons (well done comrades – what we call them back home). And they called Mad Bob out for the coward that he is. You don’t mess with a unionist in South Africa. The Teamsters are as tough as accountants compared to the South African version. If they say the ship won’t be unloaded… then the ship won’t be unloaded. Ever. Even the rats were to scared to make a move on the ship or dare get off the ship. Anyway, Zambia decided to show some political leadership sadly lacking from my own beloved government. President Mwanawasa from Zambia stood up and stood strong. Saying that any weapons delivered to Mad Bob’s puppets can and will undermine any possibility of breaking the violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe. And the Great Chinese ship turned around and headed back home. Head hanging down in shame and tail between their legs. I love Zambia even more. Now. If we can only get Mwanawasa to target a few other warmongers out there. Dick, you beter watch out. You might just piss off anger a Zambian. And as Mad Bob just realized, that ain’t no pretty thing to face.

4. Drive-thru shooting

“You talking to me? You talking to me?” Some of the last words heard at the McDonald’s drive-thru before the shoot-out at the OK Corral Golden Arches. You see, Makyala Hall went for her standard quality dinner at McDonalds and knew that you have to wait to get quality. I mean really, Le McDonald’s isn’t just some fast-food take-out joint. It’s the premier dinner destination in Tulsa. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve been to Tulsa. So Makyala waited patiently for her food at the rathole restaurant that inspired Gordon Ramsay. But after an hour she thought this might be taking a tad longer than what she expected. It is a crappy joint gourmet restaurant, but she ordered drive-thru. And she couldn’t idle her car waiting for her bag of fat handmade burger the whole evening – not with gas prices being the way they are. So she marched up to the manager and told him where to stick his fries where the burgers don’t fit. A super-sized verbal fight broke out and he flipped her faster than those patties. And then good old Madman Thurman showed up. The Cola dude from behind the counter. But he was off duty and stuffed with either beer or Quarter Pounders. In other words – he was drunk with power. I mean, he is the Spongebob of Tulsa. And he was faster on the draw than on the service. And shot the guy in the car behind Makayla when he interrupted their little argument about whether the King can take out Ronald. And all he wanted was some ketchup with his fries. He made it though. Still alive. But just. See the health nuts were right – McDonald’s can kill you.

5. A Bush I can get to like Good Bush, bad Bush

And I am talking about the one on the left. Not the smiling paw-paw in the middle or the smiling papa on the right. They are so not cool. It’s drool, not cool. But Jenna. If you take the two pees peas puh-lease P’s away and she might just look like she is at a Metallica concert. Okay, not a fan of Metallica, but you get my drift. Anyway, it seems as if she might actually think before she decides who to vote for. Now stay with me people. Yes, a Bush that can think before they take an action. Any action. I know, this is revolutionary. Or maybe evolutionary, but it is happening. I actually don’t care who she votes for. I just like the fact that she refused to be put in a little box when asked who she will vote for. Remember, her mother was sitting next to her and just said that she will vote for “the Republican”. And when Larry asked Jenna? She said she wasn’t sure as she hasn’t made up her mind yet – and then followed this up with, “I mean, who isn’t open to learning about the candidates and I’m sure that everybody is like that“. Huh-duh, like half the US isn’t open to learn sweetheart. Okay Larry, you actually got someone to not agree with their mother in public. I hope you feel proud. You should. Great work Jenna. Now, if only I can talk to you about a little war thing going on.

That’s all folks. Have a good one and speak to you later.

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Another week. And more of the weak.

1. Good news and bad news from the Boss

First the sad news. Danny Federici died on April 17, 2008. I am a Springsteen and E Street Band addict. I have every single album going back to Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. released in January 1973. And Danny has been there from the start. (Not me – I was hardly alive back then.) But Danny was there. Playing the organ and keyboard – and glockenspiel even. He was a centre piece in the E Street puzzle. Heart and soul. Heart and soul man. Danny. Phantom. Miami Dan. See you on the other side. On the Backstreets. Legend. No more words. It’s Danny. And he is gone. Long live Danny.

The Boss, Mr Springsteen for those non-believers, has officially endorsed Obama. In his words, Obama “speaks to the America I’ve envisioned in my music for the past 35 years.” But didn’t he do something similar in 2004? Actually, he didn’t. In 2004 he stood on an anti-Bush platform. Today the Boss is standing for something and someone. Obama.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. They lost a legend. And they embraced another.

2. Africans let it all hang out

It’s almost summer and everyone is coming up with new ideas on how to save on gas and electricity. And no, I don’t mean not driving to the beach. I mean those house-bound chores. Well, you thought Earth Day might be big. Try National Hanging Out Day. That special day on April 19 when we celebrate the good old clothesline. Huh? You have a special day for this? For hanging clothes on a line outside? I know about hanging out. Do it at the bar as often as I can to save on water. And I know about letting it all hang out. Hey, we invented the lion-cloth remember. Sorry, I meant loincloth. Anyway, you decide whether you want to hang it out, hanging out or let it all hang out this Saturday. But whatever you do. The aim is to help nature and not to go el natural.

3. Popping pills – not so good

Just when we thought we had it down to a T. All this healthy living stuff. Most of the developing world live longer than ever before. And every single day they find new ways to warn us how we are going to either explode or wrinkle away any minute now. Today vitamins are taking a hit. Yep. Vitamins. Those pills you pop every morning. Those right next to the Meridia, Claritin, Celebrex, Lipitor, Prozac, Glucophage and Viagra. OK. Maybe not that last one so early in the morning. But we are constantly told about the new ways that we are going to die. Got diabetes? Catch 22. Drink the pill and die from heart disease. Drink water? Careful with all those chemicals inside. Eating oranges? Sorry, just a tad too much sugar. Running for fitness? Check the stress on your body mate. Yes. Every single day they find new ways for us to die. I guess we need new things to worry about now that most of us live longer. We are running out of ideas on what to be scared of. So what about that “new” last 20 years added to your life? Here, have these to worry about – just don’t drink the Kool-Aid. I think I will go and have a Whopper, a smoke and a Quad Venti Latte with loads of sugar and full cream milk please. I worry that if I don’t die younger I will die from worrying about what I might die of when I get too old. You know, I am running out of options on what to worry about if I live to long. Damn, the longer we live the more ways we find on how to die. Most healthy way of living according to the scary health quacks doctors and freaks experts? Don’t eat, don’t drink and don’t breathe. All of those have bad things that can make you die younger even though you live to a ripe old age nowadays. And the only way you can be in a state where you don’t eat, drink or breathe? Being dead. So the quicker you die the healthier you will be. Thanks Doc. I just remembered why I don’t visit so often anymore. I’ll just eat my apple a day. No?

4. Dude, the water is narly

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water again… Well, actually it is safe to go into the water now. Sort of. The House of Reprehensibles, sorry – Representatives, just passed another law. This time to do something about that dirty sea water we all run to in summer. They’ll clean it up for us. (Hum, was hoping they could focus the cleaning on themselves a bit and not hang their dirty laundry for all to see.) Anyway, the water will hopefully be ready for all by summer. You would think this is a good thing hey? I beg to differ. Firstly, those damn Texans will now go to the US beaches instead of spending their dollars in my old hometown in South Africa – Cape Town. They’ll think the water is just as clean here as over there – so why go? We’ll miss their dollars man. (But not all of the Texans.) A good thing for America right? Not entirely… Think of those queues at the snack shop at the beach… And the queues at the ice-cream van… And the beached whales… Clean beaches and water will attract other less savory characters as well. The Brits and the Germans. The Brits out in the sun with nothing but a costume will blind you if the sun shines baby. Those are damn white bodies. Oh, I forgot – they turn red in an instant when the sun shines. But the Germans? Get used to the fact that they will take your spot on the beach and sit in their Lederhosen scanning the horizon. Don’t talk to them. They won’t know when you are serious or joking. They will laugh at anything. You know Germans and their fine-tuned humor right? Lastly, with the water nice and clear and clean – guess who else can see and smell so much better? Yes, that is a fin coming your way baby. Happy swimming. Or walking on water if I was you. See – even when the government does something right I can find fault… And I didn’t even get to the surfer part.

5. Old Man Nader

I know. I know I have been on about the age of McCain. Mac – the Old Man of the Siege. And make no mistake. He is old. But his problem isn’t him losing the power in his grip. It is that he already lost his grip on reality. The problem isn’t that he would be up in any case at 3 am for his toilet run. No, the problem is that he will make the wrong choice at 3 am. The problem isn’t his false teeth falling out. It is his false war policies falling flat. Yes, the Old Man of the Siege. But another old man is losing it just as quickly. That guy hiding behind the wall of shame. Old Man Nader. This is the guy who started a student revolution? Gotta be a long, long time ago. Well, he is older than even McCain. Nader – the student revolutionary. The man who created a student movement. The man who should be young at heart. You know. Down with us young ones (okay, I stretch it at my age). Asked whether he thinks the young voters will come out, he responded by saying, “if there was a draft they would. They sure would“. Ralph, Ralph, Ralph. You wouldn’t have achieved anything if you had this attitude back in the old days. You aren’t losing it. You have lost it. Less relevant than even in 2004. You’ve already lost the vote. Don’t let us start losing respect as well man.

Cheers people. Have a good one and see you later.

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Corporate Social Responsibility is about what business can do – not about what business must do. It is about opportunities and business benefits – not about obligations or new rules. And the sooner companies develop integrated approaches to identify and react to opportunities the better. And the quicker they put business returns and stakeholders, and specifically the consumer, at the forefront of CSR the better for both them and the CSR business model.

Tangible business benefits are ultimately realized through operational efficiencies (CSR strategy) and effective communications (CSR communications), through PR, advertising, brand, online and other ways to bring the benefits to the consumer and other stakeholders. What is needed is an integrated CSR strategy and communications approach, that is aligned with brand identity and positioning, to effectively engage target stakeholders, especially consumers, and build brand trust, loyalty and affiliation. By working across a company’s different functional areas, understanding and working within the commercial realities of a company, and making stakeholders key, CSR can strengthen and improve the businesses of companies.

CSR strategy development, which is informed by business objectives, market realities and stakeholder input, provides company direction for risk minimization, operational improvements and future growth. This strategy should be informed by and aligned with brand identity and positioning that helps position the company to stand as a responsible and leading corporate citizen – thereby building brand trust, loyalty and affiliation.

CSR communication strategies positively engage stakeholders, specifically consumers, and create on-going dialogue and interaction with the company. This engagement is in turn used to continuously inform strategy, refine brand identity and positioning, and propel continuous improvements creating a cycle of CSR leadership and business benefits.

This integrated approach provides companies with tangible benefits targeted at their own and their stakeholders’ commercial, social and environmental needs as well as the methodology to continuously improve their business, ensure CSR leadership and business benefits, and strengthen brand trust and value – now and in the future.

So, what’s my beef with PR? They play a central role in all this, right? Yes they do. A key role. But my problem is that almost all of them see this as vanilla PR. Yes, they’ll talk about how important it is and say all the right things – remember, they are in PR. But then they will focus on all the philanthropy work of the company – not the operational impacts. They’ll write CSR reports full of beautifully crafted stories of how the company has helped some poor family in Ethiopia, and hardly ever talk about what is material to the company. They’ll pitch the good stuff to the media, but not engage with stakeholders on the bad stuff. They’ll devise participatory employee volunteering schemes, but not talk about the lack of union representatives of the 5% of the workforce that got cut in the last round of ‘streamlining’. And they won’t mention that some workers in the supply chain might be just as bad off as that family in Ethiopia. They’ll talk and talk about the good stuff, because they don’t actually know how the company operates. It doesn’t help that they always talk to corporate communications/public affairs or corporate affairs (take your pick) and hardly ever to product development, HR, manufacturing, logistics, supply chain management or H&S.

One of the experiences that I despised the most while at the International Business Leaders Forum was the PR agencies constantly running to us to help them in their communications of their clients CSR practices. And this ‘advice’ can range from helping them write a CSR report to just telling them what CSR actually means, or just ‘engaging’ stakeholders. But when it came to the client or public, they acted as if they knew everything. Man, they can tell you in so many ways how they can bring the CSR of your company to life – whether you actually have CSR practices or not is irrelevant.

The problem is that PR agencies are geared towards communications. Yes, it might be aligned with the brand or corporate values if you are lucky, but PR agencies know zilch of operations. They will spin you stories on how important operations are, but they know very little of the actual dynamics of business outside communications. PR agencies are good at the communications bit, and consultants are good at the operational bits. But they talk different languages and have very different views on what brings value to the company. PR agencies see the value of CSR as how they can ‘PR’ it. Talk about it, blow it up bigger than what it is and pull off a few gimmicks. But CSR will remain outside of the company and remain without value if you have a PR approach to it. Yes, PR agencies all of a sudden have CSR departments and talk the talk. But have a close look at the people they employ at the CSR unit – PR or political campaigning backgrounds. Not those who have an understanding of operational improvements or even global developmental backgrounds. CSR will remain meaningless if we allow it be driven by PR. It must be driven by both communications and operations. And we need people to understand both. If not, well then we will continue to not bring business benefits AND development gains.

Just look at what consumers believe – they believe everything is spin. And they are not far off when it comes to the role of PR in all of this. And the examples like Wal-Mart and their online strategy is not good stakeholder engagement. But it happens when you drive your CSR through PR communications. PR has a role to play, but they need to get their house in order before they kill off CSR completely.

But don’t worry. PR is not the only guilty one from an agency side. Those consultants. They know nothing of communications. Or actual business benefits. They’ll do your CO2 emissions whether you make cars or plant trees. And design new eco-friendly offices whether you are a financial institution or farmer. No, they’ll sell you anything as long as it can relate to something in your operations. Don’t get me started on them…

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